It works if you smush the last word together: On the third day of Christmas, UB gave to me... three All-Americans!
Khalil Mack was an All-American, Javon McCrea an All-American Honorable Mention, Shannon Evans was named to the Kyle Macy Freshman All-American team, and most recently Jackie Hall earned Third Team All-America honors after the 2014 season.
That's all well and good, but one UB team came just a single Bull short of matching the entire rest of UB Athletics when it comes to 2014 All-Americans. I've already spoiled it with the photo, but it's track and field, who did not just build on their excellent throwing tradition - which, by the way, adds the most recent NYSPHSAA Champion to the mix this year - but also sent two more to Eugene, Oregon for the NCAA Championships, after sending two Bulls to Albuquerque for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
We'll start with those Indoor Championships, where thrower Jon Jones and heptathlete Mike Morgan each earned All-America honors. Morgan had never appeared in the NCAA Championships and still finished in seventh place, good for First Team recognition. Jones, who is a threat to win every competition he enters, even against better-than-NCAA competition, improved by one spot over 2013, finishing in twelfth place for Second Team recognition.
Jones and Morgan also traveled to Eugene for the Outdoor Championships, and were joined by a third Bull in long jumper Ryan Billian. All three were ranked in the top-11 nationally in their events coming in.
Despite throwing a full meter shorter than his MAC-record toss in the conference championships, Jones still earned 11th place and Second Team All-America honors. Morgan joined him in competition on the first day, but was forced to retire from the competition due to a foot injury.
On the final day of the meet, Billian placed thirteenth in his first-ever NCAA championships thanks to a jump that got him just over 24 feet. He joined Jones as a Second-Team All-American. It was the first time UB had two male All-Americans, and matched the program high for total honorees in an outdoor season.
In 2014 all three of Billian, Jones, and Morgan earned All-America status. All three broke school records on the way. And best of all, all three are back in the Blue and White in 2014-15. That's a heck of a Christmas gift.